Coronavírus SUS – Brazil’s official app for clear communication

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Rachel Mendes, a 20-year old Brazilian medical student in her second year of graduation. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

In order to handle the worrying spread of fake news throughout the country in such a delicate and complicated health situation that humanity has been dealing with ever since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Brazil created an application, meant to be downloaded to smartphones and available in both AppStore and Google Play Store, with the goal of communicating clear, scientifically-based information to the general population. Coronavírus SUS is an easy-to-understand app, with outstanding design that makes for a very instinctive utilization, meant to be used by everyone.

The Brazilian public health system (SUS, or Sistema Único de Saúde) is already known worldwide due to its accessibility and its principles of propagating universal, equal, and efficient health. The Coronavírus SUS app is one amidst the many successful efforts to improve technology in said public health system. It allows for the user to check their own state, looking for possible symptoms, and to have access to WHO and the Brazilian Health Ministry recommendations in regards to COVID-19. Besides, speaking in a more practical manner, it asks for access to their current location in order to direct them to the closest health center, in case they require medical assistance.

During a time where fake news can be lethal to a general population, Brazil’s official path for handling it is extremely effective; smartphones have been available to almost every individual in the country since the beginning of the 2010s, and they are the object which people use the most in their daily lives – and also through which wrong information is passed on the quickest. The idea of using that as a means to spread scientifically-based, clear data about something that has been affecting the lives of individuals all around the world was a brilliant move by the Brazilian Health Ministry, which had been suffering much criticism due to the constant change of ministers and president Jair Bolsonaro’s questionable position in regards to the pandemic.

The public health system in the country has always been a source of pride for the Brazilian people, given to its expansive reach from the simplest of public health measures to highly specialized research in institutions like Fundação Oswaldo Cruz. Their newest idea, the Coronavírus SUS app, is successful and made for the general public, seeking to create national knowledge about the COVID pandemic.

About the author

Rachel Mendes is a 20-year old Brazilian medical student in her second year of graduation. Her main areas of interest in Medicine, and the reasons why she decided to become a medical student in the first place, are namely Psychiatry and Global Health. She is also a published author of both poetry and fiction, in love with science, and currently the Local Publication and
Research Director of her local committee in the city of Teresina, Piauí. In the pub with her friends, she would be the person who keeps on asking the questions no one wants to hear or answer.

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